For the Boston perspective, please visit Stanley Cup of Chowder
Primed for a big game on national television as part of Hockey Day in America, the Wild came out and stayed with the defending Stanley Cup champions step for step, shot for shot through two periods. Each hit was accounted for, each loose puck was fought for, each shot was defended and rebounds were cleared. The Wild showed what they can do when they plan their work and work their plan.
Eden Prairie's own Chad Rau opened the scoring for the Wild, taking the pass from Dany Heatley and streaking through the slot, rifling it past Tim Thomas to open the scoring just past the halfway point of the game. It was Rau's second NHL goal, the other coming on Hockey Day Minnesota. Apparently we need to find numerous different "Hockey Day" events and keep Rau on the roster.
Five minutes later, a flukey play by Matt Cullen, driving to the net then fanning on a shot drawing the defense and Thomas to make a move allowed Cullen enough time to gather the puck and wrist it past an out of position Thomas. Hey, sometimes you just have to take the breaks you've earned.
After two periods, the score was 2-0 Wild and shots were 26-26. You just knew the Bruins were going to come out guns blazing and the Wild would have to either counter or buckle down and defend the onslaught, but most were not expecting the amount of pressure the Bruins would apply.
The third period saw Tim Thomas keep the B's in the game by somehow keep Dany Heatley, Jed Ortmeyer, Jeff Taffe and Nick Johnson off the scoreboard to keep it at 2-0. But the story was Niklas Backstrom and the 22 saves he would make in the third period versus the three shots on goal the Wild would take.
This one on Milan Lucic was the best
Thanks to Backstrom, the Wild were able to withstand the offensive power of the Bruins and get out with a well earned 2-0 win on national television.
- Backstrom's 48 saves are a career high and the most ever by a Wild goaltender and the most in a shutout
- The Wild are now 10-1-1 all time versus the Boston Bruins
- Boston is 0-36 on the power play all time versus the Wild
The Bennett's Chop & Railhouseof the Game:
- Niklas Backstrom (48 saves)
- Chad Rau (1 G)
- Matt Cullen (1 G)
Remember, when you begin and end your night at Bennett's, you're the star! Easy parking, drink and food specials and a free shuttle to and from the Xcel Energy Center. Check them out athttp://bennettschopandrailhouse.com/.
- Is there a shred of pride to be found? This team worked hard today in all areas of the game and it showed. When they work and play within the system, they can beat anyone. Of course, it helps when your goaltender is playing like a man possessed.
- Zidlicky back in the lineup. Over under for plus / minus is set at -3. What you got? Somehow the Wild avoided giving up a goal during his three glaring errors. But yeah, he was terrible.
- How is it possible Benoit Pouliot still has a job? Well, he worked Nick Schultz over pretty badly on one play, but other than that I didn't notice him much.
- National TV audience today, does that make it worse? Huge showing by the team and the crowd today with the national spotlight. Good on everyone.
- Anyone left to blame? Maybe Congress? I blame Michele Bachmann. I think she made Tim Thomas nervous.